A new airport is being developed in China to boost tourism at Wulingyuan, which was made famous as the inspiration for the movie Avatar.
The new Lotus International Airport will serve the city of Zhangjiajie, in central China’s Hunan province, which is the gateway to the UNESCO-listed Wulingyuan Scenic & Historic Interest Area.
Wulingyuan forms part of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, which was named as China’s first national forest park in 1982. Its soaring limestone karsts and lush jungle was cited by Hollywood director James Cameron as the basis for the fictional world of Pandora in his 2009 movie.
Since Avatar was released, Wulingyuan has experience a surge in tourism numbers, and authorities in Hunan have now decided to develop a new international airport to serve this rising traffic.
Set to open in 2015, the new Lotus International Airport will cover almost 60,000m² and be able to handle up to five million passengers a year. It is being developed at a cost of approximately CNY535 million (US$87m).